Dan Warbrick’s stepdaughter (12) and stepson (10) were playing on the swings and roundabout at Lostock Hall Recreation Ground in Croston Road on Monday, January 3, around 2-3pm while visiting the park with their mum when a gang of teenagers began abusing them.
Dan (33), formerly of Preston, said: “Four lads and a girl were saying, ‘Come over here and we’ll fight you and beat you up’ to my stepson.
“His sister went over to him and they said, ‘We’ll kick your head in,’ to her.
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“Then my partner Yvette went over and they gave her grief, too, so she walked off [with her children].”
He adds that his stepson is now too frightened to go back to the park without him or his mum.
Meanwhile, Dan has been flooded with messages after posting about the issue on Facebook page Lostock Hall Community from other concerned residents and parents who have similar experiences with disorderly youths in the park.
“There are a lot of angry and worried people in the community. Parents are saying they won’t let their kids go to the park for fear of them getting their heads kicked in. It’s not on,” he said.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that so many people are worried about getting beat up.”
The messages also describe other antisocial acts, according to Dan, who adds: “The park is for kids, not for teenagers to wreck.
“There are no police patrols, no CCTV, glass smashed all over the place. The amount of swearing is disgusting. My kids are shocked by it. It’s atrocious.
“One man messaged me to say his four-year-old came home [from the park] and said the C-word. I couldn’t believe it.”
And, he said: “There have been threats of stabbings, and wing mirrors kicked off cars in the past fortnight. There are youths smoking weed, and fag ends and [cannibis] joints on the floor.
“I’m not a politician but someone needs to step up, and say ‘enough is enough’.
“I want my kids to feel safe in the park.”
A councillor for South Ribble Borough Council is urging anyone who witnesses anti-social behaviour to report it to the police.
Coun. Mick Titherington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Leisure, said: “We take the safety of our residents incredibly seriously and although no direct report of ASB in this area has been reported to us, we are working as part of a multi-agency response which includes the police to investigate this issue and to offer any support we can.
“We work regularly in partnership with the police to look to tackle anti-social behaviour and we are grateful for residents flagging their concerns. We would ask that residents report any incidence of ASB to the police by calling 101 or logging a report online at lancashire.police.uk
"If the incident is an emergency and you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 999 immediately.”
PC Chris Suffolk, police officer for Lostock Hall, says that while he has received no reports about this incident, he also encourages people to contact the police by phone or internet.
PC Suffolk, of Leyland and South Ribble Neighbourhood Police, added: “We recognise the community concerns around this issue and fully understand what a profound impact anti-social behaviour can have on people.
“We want people to feel safe in their neighbourhood and we are committed to tackling this type of crime.
“The Lostock Hall Neighbourhood Police team carry out targeted patrols on the local ASB hotspots.
“At this time, we have received no reports related to these incidents.
“However, I must encourage anyone who feels they are the victim of a crime to report it to us safe in the knowledge we will investigate and where appropriate take further action.
“We’d urge people to call us on 101 if they see anything they are concerned about. You can also report online at: doitonline.lancashire.police.uk”
Officers have dealt with thousands of anti-social behaviour reports in Bamber Bridge and Lostock Hall in the past three years, according to police figures.
The Force has received 2,893 reports, equating to 1,893 in Bamber Bridge and 1,005 in Lostock Hall. There have been 638 in Bamber Bridge and 380 in Lostock Hall in the past year from December 2020 to November 2021. March saw the most reports - 94 - in Bamber Bridge, following a jump by more than a third (35.1%) from December 2020. The Sollam's Close area was a hotspot in March, having nearly one-fifth (17) of the 94 accounts. The highest in Lostock Hall was 42 in September.
Anti-social behaviour is the most reported crime in both towns, making up 34.2% of the total in Bamber Bridge and 39.7% in Lostock Hall in the past three years.
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